Eight boys' water polo teams remain alive in the quest for the CIF Southern Section Division V championship. Among those are a trio of local squads.
Glendale High, Crescenta Valley and Flintridge Prep each passed their first-round test and will look to move a step closer to the title when they participate in quarterfinal matches Saturday.
Top-seeded Glendale will meet Webb at 3 p.m. at Burbank High. Third-seeded Crescenta Valley will be on the road to face defending-champion Pasadena Poly at 10:30 a.m., followed by Flintridge Prep taking on second-seeded Los Altos in a designated home contest at noon at Poly.
Glendale, which won a third straight undefeated Pacific League championship, opened with a 19-6 win against California on Wednesday at Burbank.
Glendale Coach Forest Holbrook, whose team advanced to the final last season for the first time in the program's history, said the Nitros (19-6) have relied on being cohesive throughout the majority of the season while also receiving significant contributions from some of their standout athletes.
“The team has really been clicking throughout, but especially right now,” Holbrook said. “The goal is to be peaking at the end of the season.
“They understand exactly what they each need to do. Watching them play is something that's fantastic. We expect a good challenge from Webb because they are always well coached. We aren't going to worry about scoring goals. We just have to focus on the fundamentals surrounding playing good defense.”
Glendale received a match-high eight goals from Artak Arzumanyan, all in the first half, against California. Arman Momdzhyan added four goals for the Nitros, who got three from Manuk Piloyan.
Webb (15-11) finished runner-up in the Prep League and began the postseason with a 17-11 win against Citrus Valley.
The winner of the Glendale-Webb match will face fourth-seeded La Serna or Walnut in a semifinal match at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut.
Like Glendale, Crescenta Valley (16-9) had little trouble dispatching its first-round opponent Wednesday. The Falcons, who took second in the Pacific League, got a match-best four goals from Nate Fernandez and two goals and three assists from Daniel Park to coast to a 13-4 win against El Rancho at Pasadena City College. Pasadena Poly, which captured the Prep League championship, earned a 15-7 opening-round home victory against Rowland.
The Falcons will encounter the Panthers, a foe they are vastly familiar with since the teams met twice during the regular season. Pasadena Poly (21-5) recorded an 8-5 nonleague win at Pasadena City College before Crescenta Valley returned the favor with a 9-1 win in the Oxnard Tournament.
Crescenta Valley competed without starter Ryan Moguel in the first matchup and Pasadena Poly was without standout Spencer Rogers in the second contest.
“We know each other very well and what the other team likes to do,” said Crescenta Valley Coach Jan Sakonju, who guided the Falcons to a Division VI championship in 2008. “We seem to have met a lot in the playoffs over the last five or six years.
“You establish relationships with other teams and there's that respect factor. Both teams always have some great players. It will be an exciting and tough matchup.”
The winner of the Crescenta Valley-Pasadena Poly game will take on Flintridge Prep (14-11) or Los Altos (19-10) in a semifinal contest at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Mt. San Antonio College.
Flintridge Prep survived a tough first-round match, rallying in the second half to record an 18-14 road win against Riverside Poly. The Rebels, who took third in the Prep League, got a team-best nine goals from Ethan Vandeventer to knock off the Bears.
Flintridge Prep Coach Dan Hare said the Rebels' comeback might be a flash point in achieving additional success.
“That had to be one of the best games of the year, let alone comebacks,” Hare said. “That second half was the best one we've played this season.
“With Los Altos, they are the No. 2 seed for a reason and they have some excellent players. We don't know much about them, but we have a lot of respect for them. We have to continue to play a lot like we did in the second half [against Riverside Poly].”
Los Altos, which finished first in the Hacienda League, started its playoff run with an 18-7 victory against Whittier.
The CIF Division V championship match will be held at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at William Woollett Jr. Aquatic Center in Irvine.